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OSX unnecessarily wakes external drive - can this be changed?

31068 Views 113 Replies Latest reply: Apr 9, 2014 11:44 AM by DaveNN RSS
  • AstroMacMan Level 2 Level 2 (290 points)

    This is a really good tip.  The only issue I can see if what happens when you find to file on the external drive?


    Well, even if that requires manually deleting the drive from the Spotlight prefs, it could be worth it, if it indeed stops the all too often access of the external drive.

  • Tony the Tech Calculating status...

    Bump! I have ploughed through this entire thread and have tried the various soutions and workarounds suggested by many resourceful and helpful contributors to the discussion. Nothing has worked to my satisfaction. I have never waited for the spinning beechball so much in all the time I have been using OS X (I have been a user since developer preview 1).

    The best solution I have seen so far is to get a time capsule or a NAS to store backups. I don't do a lot of video, so I guess I can go with that solution. I guess I'll spend the money I was considering for a mac-mini server on a Synology NAS. From what I've read, those devices don't touch their drives until they are needed.

    I consider this a bug in the Mac OS X (Mountain)Lion. Accessing a web page in safari, closing an application, launching and application, opening the file dialog, and some micelaneous daemon doing disk i/o will spin up all attached drives and process that wants to access a file on the internal drive must wait. This is unacceptable.

  • The Gnostic One Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

    Has anyone tried excluding their external drives from being indexed in the Spotlight preferences? I think that may help with externals drives spinning up when saving or searching files.

  • Thabo Da Husky Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    The issue with the annoying pause was solved by not using so called "green" drives or the like - the hardware of the drive enclosure and probably the drives themselves  in my case was causing the drive to sleep often, even if my mac was still awake. I now use a 3TB bare drive that is connected via thunderbold, no more annoying delays when I'm in Safari.

  • Niklas Luhmann Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    I did, but it didn't make a difference.

  • Tony the Tech Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    So the "solution" is to have your drives spinning all the time. I'm sorry, but that is not a solution. Mac user the world over should use non-green drives and keep them spinning all day. My mac currently has 1.49 GB of wired memory. Can't the system cache whatever it needs from external drives in that space?


    @The Gnostic One: There have been several recommendation through this thread regarding turning off spotlight for external drives. While it may attenuate the annoyance level of this issue, it is not a solution, because the drives are being accessed by seemingly unrealted tasks. Downloading a web page in safari causes my external backup drive and my external video archive and my bootable backup to all spin up. Why?

  • Niklas Luhmann Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    [Comment edited - I didn't understand the post at first.]

  • GessoArt Calculating status...

    Does Apple read these posts? This has been a problem for years and they offer not fix. It is embarrassing to the technology to sit and wait 15 - 30 seconds each time I return to my computer while the OS waits on an external drive that I have no intention of using.


    I've been using Macs since my 1993 purchase of a Quadra 950. Never have I seen a chronic bug like this ignored by Apple. I cannot understand why this cannot be a preference item that can be turned on or off.


    Please, Apple - this is not Apple-like.

  • scottwilleke Calculating status...

    FYI: In fact Apple has contacted me to get more information about this specific issue for their engineering team. So I'm very happy to report that Apple not only reads the posts but acts on them!

  • innergalactic Calculating status...

    Considering this thread is still getting complaints, Apple didn't do a very good job fixing it.

  • Chippy99 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Google brought me here after my Lacie Blade Runner drive spun up again for no reason for the 20th time today (or whatever).


    So this bug is affecting me too.  Incidentally I am using a Mac Mini with 10.8.3.


    Here's the other stupid thing: This only affects the external, usb-connected, drive. The internal hard disk stays asleep all day unless I access it.

  • AstroMacMan Level 2 Level 2 (290 points)

    I've noticed something else... even without a hard drive connected, the OS still often goes off into la-la land for a while when doing a File-Open or a File-Save inside many programs.  Now, I'm running Snow Leopard, so maybe things have changed with Lion or Mountain Lion.


    With luck, they realize the problem and will fix it when the surfin' OS comes out!

  • William Donelson Level 4 Level 4 (2,495 points)

    I have a 2TB Seagate "Expansion" USB3 drive. Internally I have the 1TB Fusion drive.


    It spins down then back up every minute or so only when the iMac is asleep !


    Otherwise it seems well behaved.


    Any ideas?

  • Juuso Ylamaki Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same here, when my MBP is asleep, it wakes up itself and the external HDD (WD MyBook) for 20 seconds or so about every 10 minutes. So, I just can't use a sleep-mode anymore. Did the same with the previous HHD as well.

  • William Donelson Level 4 Level 4 (2,495 points)

    William Donelson wrote:


    I have a 2TB Seagate "Expansion" USB3 drive. Internally I have the 1TB Fusion drive.


    It spins down then back up every minute or so only when the iMac is asleep !


    Otherwise it seems well behaved.


    Any ideas?

    This has been traced to being asleep with my Second monitor left on (strangely). It uses a Thunderbolt-to-DVI adaptor. If I turn OFF the second monitor after I put my iMac to sleep, the disk does not spin down and up repeatedly, and the whole system goes into deep sleep as it should.

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